Meaning of FIRST in English

I. ˈfərst, ˈfə̄st, ˈfəist adjective

Etymology: Middle English, from Old English fyrst; akin to Old High German & Old Saxon furist first, Old Norse fyrstr; superlative from the root of Old High German & Old Saxon furi before, for, Old Norse fyr; akin to Old English faran to go — more at fare



(1) : being number one in a countable series

the first day

: beginning a series — see number table

the first volume

my first voyage

(2) : being a type of grammatical declension or conjugation conventionally placed first in a standard arrangement of the types

(3) : being the lowest forward gear or speed in an automotive vehicle

b. : preceding all others : earliest in time

the first to come

the first train leaves at noon

c. : foremost in position : being in front of all others

first in the race


(1) : foremost in rank, importance, or worth : chief

of first importance

first in the hearts of his countrymen — Henry Lee

your first concern is to get well

the first American actor of our day — Lee Rogow

(2) : highest or most prominent in carrying the melody among several voices or instruments of the same class

first soprano

first violin

(3) : having primary jurisdiction in the Mormon Church ; especially : having jurisdiction throughout the church

the first presidency

e. : having precedence over colleagues of the same general grade or duties — used in titles

first mate

first ballerina

2. : smallest, slightest, or most rudimentary

I haven't the first idea of what you mean


a. North : eager , anxious

he was so first to hear about it

b. dialect Britain : next , following — often used postpositively with expressions of time

I'll come to see him Sunday first


a. : being between 0.51 and 1.50 on the magnitude scale — used of the magnitude of a star

b. : being 1.50 or brighter on the magnitude scale — used of the apparent visual magnitude of any of the 22 brightest stars in the sky

II. adverb

Etymology: Middle English, from Old English fyrst, from fyrst, adjective

1. : before any or some other person or thing (as in time, space, rank, or importance) : as the first thing to be mentioned : to begin with

I will pay you first , and then the others

first , I wish to consider the economic problem

first of all, let me say that I regard my opponent with great respect

— often used with off

first off, he was likely to get a shave and a haircut — S.E.Fletcher

first off, we heard a splendid performance of Haydn's Symphony — Philip Hamburger

2. : for the first time

we first met at a formal party

3. : in preference to anything else : rather than do, be, or bear something : sooner

surrender? we will die first

4. North : just , only

are you back already or are you first leaving

III. noun

( -s )

Etymology: Middle English, from first, adjective


a. : number one in a countable series

the first of the month

b. : the first part : beginning , outset

the last of life for which the first was made — Robert Browning

from the first I disliked the man

at first I didn't know what to make of it

c. : the first thing

the first I knew, the fire had spread to the bedroom

2. : the first occurrence or item of its kind

out of doors marked “restricted” today flow the aviation firsts of tomorrow — First in Flight

Vermont has several educational firsts — American Guide Series: Vermont

specifically : a first edition (as of a book)


a. : the first gear or speed in an automotive vehicle

b. : first base

c. : unison : prime 8c

d. : prime 7


a. : an article of commerce of the finest grade — usually used in plural

clear unspotted skins graded as firsts

b. : first class

he took a first in classics

c. : the winning place in a race or other sports contest

IV. adjective

Usage: usually capitalized

: of or relating to the family of the president of the United States

First Mother

First Daughter

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.